Sri Lanka fritter away advantage with poor execution
Sri Lanka 272-8 (Karunaratne 130) v Pakistan
Third Test, Pallekele, day one
Dimuth Karunaratne scored a fine century, but Sri Lanka frittered away a solid early advantage, thanks to some poor batting execution and disciplined bowling from Pakistan, finishing day one of the third Test in Pallekele on 272 for eight.
Pakistan won the toss and opted to field first. They got the early wicket of Kaushal Silva (9), who edged one in the channel to the wicket-keeper.
However, Upul Tharanga (46) and Karunaratne (130) added 91 runs for the second wicket to lend some solidity to the innings on a pitch where both teams picked three seamers to exploit the movement.
Rahat Ali (2-74), who picked up the first wicket, went for three fours in the ninth over, which took Sri Lanka to 42 for one.
There was a slight drizzle when the players went in for lunch at 85 for one after 26 overs, with both batsmen hitting five fours each.
Tharanga, who struggled to adjust to the turn and movement in spite of being flashy, eventually fell edging a tossed up delivery that was taken by Younis Khan at first slip off a deflection from the wicket-keeper.
A mini-collapse ensued as both Lahiru Thirimanne (11) and the skipper Angelo Mathews (3) threw their wickets away trying to go over the top but hitting straight to mid-on, both being victims of Yasir Shah (4-77).
Pakistan won the post-lunch session, taking three wickets and giving away just 67 runs in 27 overs, as Sri Lanka went into tea on 153 for four after 53 overs.
Karunaratne brought up his second Test century in 188 balls with a couple in the 64th over just after he completed a fifty-run partnership with Jehan Mubarak (25), who is making a comeback after a long time.
However, Mubarak threw his start away attempting to charge Yasir and missing the ball to be stumped, ending the 67-run partnership.
Karunaratne added another 44 with Dinesh Chandimal (24) as Rahat proved expensive by the context of the game and was struck for three more fours in the 74th over.
However, it was the unlikely leg-spinner Azhar Ali (2-35), bowling his occasional spinners, who got the double blow. He first got Karunaratne with a big spinning googly that got the batsman stumped.
Dhammika Prasad (0) tried a swipe the very first ball and was out thanks to a splendid catch by Yasir at deep square leg.
Pakistan took the new ball in the 82nd over and it worked well as Rahat got Chandimal with an inswinging delivery that trapped him in front. Although given not out, Pakistan reviewed and won the lbw decision.
Sri Lanka finished the day on 272 for eight, undone more by poor shot selection than by great deliveries although Pakistan did bowl well for the major part of the day.
The spin combination of Yasir and Azhar shared six wickets between them, while Rahat managed two wickets.
© Cricket World 2015